Society & Politics

Why Democracy Matters

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Rory Stewart

Throughout the West there is an increasing sense of disappointment towards the institutions of democracy. British MP Rory Stewart, however, argues that democracy is something we should continue to value and encourage throughout the world. Instead of arguing for democracy based on the benefits it produces, Stewart suggests we steer away from instrumental reasons for democracy and back toward the intrinsic impetuses of equality and liberty from which democracy originally arose. For democracy to thrive, Stewart challenges his listeners to think not in terms of structures but in terms of a state of mind—a state of mind that might well be termed relational.

Stewart gives us two ways forward to help democracy thrive. The first is to encourage honesty, which would mean removing the impulse to raise politicians up as demi-gods who can answer all questions and meet all needs in order to be elected. This would, of course, require the support of both the public and the media. The second is recognition of the “genius of the local”: politicians would trust the public to find solutions, and in doing so release their energy towards the betterment of society.

What has led to the diminishing faith society has in democracy?

Are Stewart’s solutions enough? What else might be done to recover democracy?

Are there other political solutions we should be considering instead of democracy?

Source: TED: Ideas Worth Spreading

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